WSDOT

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The safety of the Alaskan Way viaduct will be back on the table Monday when the Seattle City Council will hear from the Washington State Department of Transportation about planning for a short- or long-term closure of the busy highway that runs along Seattle's waterfront. 

WSDOT

State highway engineers will shut down a stretch of the Alaskan Way viaduct later this month to take a closer look at cracks found on the roadway.

What workers found during a routine inspection of the viaduct on March 1 isn’t that unusual, says Tom Baker, an engineer with the Washington state Department of Transportation.

WSDOT

State officials say they need $170 million more to complete a replacement of the Highway 520 floating bridge on Lake Washington.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said Wednesday that an agency error on pontoon design error is consuming most of the project's reserve funds. Lawmakers had capped the project budget at $2.72 billion, but state transportation officials are now asking the Legislature to raise that to $2.89 billion.

WSDOT

A steel pipe that the state Department of Transportation itself had installed back in 2002 sits in the way of Bertha underneath Seattle, WSDOT said on Friday, and it may be the cause of the weeks-long work stoppage.

An inspection on Jan. 2 “showed an 8-inch-diameter steel pipe protruding through one of the many openings in the cutterhead,” WSDOT said, adding the agency had installed the pipe, a well casing, in the wake of the 2001 Nisqually quake to better understand groundwater flow. 

Joe Bushnell

The Washington State Department of Transportation has now figured out what caused construction lumber to fall off the Highway 16 Nalley Valley Viaduct project and smash onto South Tacoma Way on June 29th.

As KPLU reported, the falling lumber barely missed landing on a man on a moped.

WSDOT says the contractor has now determined that the cause was a defective four-by-six wood support beam, which collapsed spilling the construction lumber onto the roadway below.

Joe Bushnell

The Washington state Department of Transportation is trying to figure out what went wrong on Saturday when dozens of pieces of construction lumber on the Nalley Valley viaduct project on Highway 16 came loose and fell onto the roadway below, smashing into pieces as drivers watched in disbelief. 

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

A construction vessel working on a new Highway 520 floating bridge on Lake Washington at Seattle may be responsible damaging an anchor cable on the existing bridge.

The Transportation Department says the area around the bridge is restricted, except for construction vessels.

Dougtone / Flickr

It may not feel like it when you’re in your car, but figures from the state Department of Transportation show there is less traffic on Washington’s roads than at any time in the last 10 years.

Between 1980 and 2002, the miles driven on the state’s roads more than doubled, from 15 billion per year to about 32 billion. Then suddenly, it leveled off and stayed that way for the past decade.

Bellamy Pailthorp Photo / KPLU News

Driving an all-electric vehicle just got a bit more mainstream.

The AAA Auto Club of Washington has launched a new emergency roadside service for electric cars. It now has a truck with a generator on board that can rescue drivers in the greater Seattle area if they’ve run out of charge.

Big mistakes made on the design and construction of pontoons for the new 520 floating bridge could lead to tougher reporting requirements for the Washington state Department of Transportation.

Lawmakers want more transparency and accountability when it comes to costly mistakes. Repairs to cracks in the new 520 pontoons, for example, are expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU News

Big mistakes were made by the State Department of Transportation in its construction of the pontoons that will hold up the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

The agency says it is making repairs and design modifications to ensure the bridge will last the full 75 year lifespan promised.

sivinjski danijel / flickr

Did you get stuck in traffic during the Thanksgiving weekend? Or: worry about your kids getting dicey rides home from holiday parties?

Those are two reasons you might be interested in a relatively new,
alternative form of transportation: ridesharing.

It's really just a new spin on hitchhiking. Only, when you add in cell phones with an app to download, it’s quicker and more convenient to find the right ride.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

You may have heard about some issues with the large concrete pontoons being built for the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington. Several of them sprung leaks and cracks after the cement set in Aberdeen.

But the state Department of Transportation says drivers don’t need to worry; the situation is under control.

Click the "play" icon below to see video of State Construction Engineer Jeff Carpenter describing how pontoon cracks are being patched to ensure they will last 75 years, as stipulated in the design plan:

WSDOT image

Even as its construction is well underway, design plans for the new 520 bridge across Lake Washington continue to spark controversy.

A federal judge will hear oral arguments tomorrow in a lawsuit against the replacement project by the State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

WSDOT photo

Today is the first big day for car commuters since automatic tolling went live on the 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

It’s viewed as the start of the first really meaningful data-set for people who crunch numbers behind the scenes of the State Department of Transportation.

So far, the commute has pushed traffic to the south, with the I-90 bridge seeing more congestion … and more room created on 520, where drivers now have to pay to cross.

Bellamy Pailthorp photo / KPLU News

Tomorrow (Thursday, 12-29-11), electronic tolls will kick in on the 520 bridge across lake Washington.

A series of technical glitches caused multiple past delays.  But now, the reader boards are going live and billing drivers on the most popular route between Seattle and the east side.

There are many creative ways to get around the tolls, but you’re bound to have to pay, sooner or later.

Courtesy Zach Lewis / theseattlesalmon.com

Get ready for tolling charges on the 520 bridge.

The state department of transportation will be flipping a virtual switch one week from today.

That means now is a really good time to set up a Good to Go account online – or face more expensive travel.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

Tolling on the 520 Bridge will start at 5 am on December 29th.

That’s the word from the state Department of Transportation, after multiple glitches that have delayed the system till now.

WSDOT

Today is the deadline for Washington and other states to apply for a share of more than $2 billion in federal high-speed rail money that Florida rejected. State officials hope to use some of that money to tackle landslides that have made rail travel this winter unreliable.

WSDOT / Flickr

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Carpool Tolls Likely on I-405
  • Not Guilty Plea in Prison Guard Murder Charge
  • Grand Jury Request by Woodcarver's Family

 

I-405 Carpool Tolls Coming?

As drivers get ready to pay new tolls this spring to cross the Highway 520 floating bridge – more tolls could be on the way.  State lawmakers have proposed charging cars with only one or two people in them to use carpool lanes on I-405 from Lynnwood to Bellevue. 

WSDOT / flickr.com

Two of the state's passenger-only ferries, the Skagit and the Kalama, have been sold to Scope Community Consultants of Coquitlam, B.C., for $400,000. The boats have been tied up at the dock since the state ended passenger-only service in 2009. Their new owner is loading them onto a cargo ship and sending them to Tanzania, where they'll ferry passengers between the mainland and the Zanzibar archipelago.

Wikimedia Commons

Making headlines this morning:

  • Seattle Tunnel Project Hits Federal Snag
  • Audit Singes State Over Highway 18 Costs
  • 787 Delivery Plans Face More Questions
  • State's Newest Congresswoman Takes on Health Care Reform
WSDOT

The first major street closure in the work to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct happens Monday night.

The state Department of Transportation says it's closing First Avenue South next to Qwest Field from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday to allow crews to set up space for the huge construction job.

WSDOT

When you visit the Washington State Ferries website in 2011, you'll find something new:  banner advertising.   It's a one year pilot project.  The state is looking for new ways to increase revenue, and that could include advertising on its websites.

Gary Davis/KPLU

You may be drying out from the weekend rain storms. But city officials in Seattle are thinking about snow.  They’re learning lessons from the snowstorm in November that turned roads into ice rinks and made for paralyzing commutes.

WSDOT

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is preparing for the next snowstorm in the Puget Sound Region with the addition of eight new "mini-sander" pickup trucks.  The trucks are being turned into sanders with the addition of hoppers and equipment mounted on the tailgates.

AP

The planned  tunnel to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way viaduct will include tolls, and that will push traffic onto nearby streets and I-5, according to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.  So, he’s hiring a consultant to look at ways to handle extra traffic.